I have Facebook friends whose points of view on a whole variety of issues vary greatly from my own. Some of these Facebook friends are people I got to know on my travels. During the short time we enjoyed each others’ company we didn’t necessarily get a chance to share our political or social ideologies in too much detail. Some of the Facebook friends I disagree with mightily are high school classmates, or my former students, whose adult opinions have evolved in ways that are radically different from my own beliefs about religious faith or social problems or government agendas. Some of these Facebook friends are colleagues from the past or present who interpret things from a stance that bewilders me, and yes, I’ll admit it, at times infuriates me.
Sometimes when I see post after post from someone who obviously has a world view that seems the polar opposite to mine I am tempted to just ‘unfriend’ them. It irritates me that they have such a wrong-headed approach to issues.
A few days ago I read something by Heather Plett in which she encouraged people to interact with Facebook friends who stretched them and had ideas that challenged their own. What wisdom. If we only listen to those who think the same way we do, how will any of us ever change, how will we meet halfway, or manage to live respectfully with one another?
Unfriending those whose ideas are at odds with my own might make me feel less frustrated, but it won’t really do anything to promote greater understanding and possible compromise.